22.3 miles hiked, highest point 10919ft, mile 71.7 camping at 10033ft
I sleep terribly, waking at 1am and unable to get back to sleep for hours. I’m too hot, then too cold, then I have no idea what the problem is but sleep doesn’t come.
We wake late, but the rest of the campers are all still in camp. Ah, I think, JMT style hiking. I spend too much time looking for a missing sock, that I decide a squirrel must have run off with. It ends up being tucked into the back of my leg sleeve.
8am on the trail and through a large long meadow surrounded by pine trees, reminiscent of the walk out of Kennedy Meadows. It’s sunny and cool and we manage to crank out 3.5 miles in the first hour. Then it all goes sloooowly. We don’t have to hike fast or hard today- we have a box to be picked up in the tiny town of Jefferson which is just 23 miles from camp. We can either hike fast and try and hitch in tonight to get it, or hike as slow as we please to the road, and hitch in early in the morning. We decide to just hike and see what happens.
There isn’t too much climbing today – a long easy climb over many miles, then undulating for the rest of the day. It gets hot all of a sudden, and we are climbing in a place with no air. Not enough air in the air at 11000ft.
We stop at a stream for early lunch, fill up water and drink a lot. We need to make sure we are drinking lots with the altitude, the heat and the climbing. The app isn’t too accurate with the water sources, so we find ourselves panicking about not enough water when there is plenty. Drink a litre, take a litre at every stop.
Another little break by water in the afternoon. I dip my buff, hat and bandana in the cool stream and enjoy the ice cold shock as it hits my skin. My audiobook does a great job at distractinge from the heat and I zone out listening to it as we go up and down, up and down.
One more little climb through the narrow forrested trail and we open to a magificent view of a meadow with snow peaked mountains looming. Mountains! Views! We will be off our tame few days of trail soon and into the tough climbs and altitude of the Rocky Mountains.
It turns out we actually have made good time and will only just miss the store. Bugger! We race down to the trailhead just in case, but admit defeat at 550pm when we come across…trail magic!!!
Corbin and Harold have been here all day cooking hot dogs for hikers. We eat some bags of chips and add some arnold palmer powder to some water bottles and chat to the other 4 hikers hanging around.
Camping is stealth camping near the campground-we don’t want to pay the fee but need to stay near the road to hitch in the morning.
We set up the tent, boil some water and use the silver dinner packet from a couple of nights ago to heat and cook our ramen, veggie and miso soup creation. “Should we rinse it?” I ask, peering into the bag and seeing remnants from dinners past. “Nah” decides Grizzly. Salty salty goodness.
We dive into the tent, careful not to let in any mosquito hitch hikers.
It’s early so we take our notes then while away time watching videos on tiny screens. Hopefully a good sleep tonight!